How To Remove Tea Stains From Stainless Steel

We all have our vices, and for many, it is that warm caffeinated beverage in the morning.

Unfortunately, both tea and coffee will leave stains on the mugs, flasks, and carafes we use.

Black tea especially leaves behind a stain that can be difficult to remove, and the washing machine certainly will not entirely handle it.

If you find yourself with this problem, don’t fret, we have been there and done some research to learn how to get rid of tea stains from your stainless steel mugs.

Continue reading to learn how to remove tea stains from stainless steel. 

What You’ll Need

Now that you have all the materials you need, read below for step-by-step instructions on how to get tea stains out of stainless steel.

1. Place Dishwasher Tablet Into Container

Take a dishwasher tablet and place it into the mug or whatever stainless steel container you are cleaning.

The brand of dishwasher tablet does not matter, and you may be able to use powdered dishwasher detergent if you do not have the tablets. 

2. Pour Boiling Water Into The Container

Next, fill the entire container with boiling water.

You will notice bubbles rising with the water level.

Be sure that the amount of water you add fills the entire stainless steel container.

You want the water to cover all of the tea stains fully. 

Leave the boiling water and dissolved dishwasher tablet in the stainless steel container for an hour. 

3. Pour Out Water And Rinse

Once it has sat in the stainless steel container for an hour, pour it out and rinse it.

You should notice bits of the tea stains coming out with the water and cleaning solution. 

4. Pour Liquid Dish Soap Into The Container 

Pour a couple of drops of liquid dish soap into the stainless steel container.

A little goes a long way, so do not put too much dish soap in the container as it is unnecessary. 

5. Add Water Into The Container 

Add water from the faucet into the stainless steel container.

Unlike before, it does not need to be boiling water.

Fill the entire container until some of the bubbles pour over. 

6. Scrub With A Scrubbing Brush 

Using a scrubbing brush that will fit into the mouth of the container, scrub the inside of the stainless steel container.

Be sure to also pay attention to the rim and mouth of the container plus any corners at the bottom of the stainless steel container. 

7. Rinse Out Container

Once you have scrubbed the stainless steel container enough, go rinse out the container.

Check to ensure that all the tea stain has been completely removed.

If any tea stains remain, you may want to repeat some steps above. 

Video Instructions

  • Step 1 (:42) — Place the dishwasher tablet in the container
  • Step 2 (:52) – Pour boiling water into the container
  • Step 3 (1:44) – Pour out water and tablet solution
  • Step 4 (1:56) – Put some liquid dish soap into the container
  • Step 5 (2:04) – Add water into the container
  • Step 6 (2:08) – Scrub with a scrubbing brush
  • Step 7 (2:29) – Rinse out the container


What Is In Tea Stains? 

Tea very easily stains and so often will stain the materials it is in, whether it sits inside ceramics, porcelain, or stainless steel.

This is not due to the material itself but due to the tannins in the tea.

This chemical compound can be tough to remove. In addition, the heat of the tea allows the tannins to penetrate better the materials of the container your tea is in.

Because of tannins, it is not enough to scrub the tea stains.

Over time without a thorough cleaning, the tannins will build up and create a dark stain. 

What Are Other Methods To Remove Tea Stains From Stainless Steel? 

There are several different methods and ingredients to remove the tea stains from stainless steel.

Baking soda is a popular method of cleaning tea stains from different materials.

You can layer some baking soda where the tea stains are.

Allow the baking soda to sit, and then scrub the baking soda with a sponge or scrub brush. 

Does Vinegar Damage Stainless Steel?

White vinegar is also an excellent option to remove tea stains.

Because of the acidity in vinegar, it can corrode stainless steel if you spray it in a concentrated form and let it sit.

To stay safe from corrosion, spray a mix of one-half distilled white vinegar and one-half water onto the stain.

Allow it to sit and scrub the tea stain with a warm cloth.

Doing this will remove the white vinegar and the stain. 

Will Corn Starch Remove Stains?

Similar to baking soda, you can use cornstarch.

Cornstarch has a similar ability to create an abrasive cleaning solution and tool.

Create a paste of cornstarch with white vinegar.

Apply the paste to the tea stain and allow it to sit on the stain.

Eventually, wipe with a warm cloth to remove the paste and tea stain. 

Does Lemon Get Rid Of Tea Stains?

Lemon can be another helpful way to remove tea stains.

One method with lemon is to rub cut lemon wedges onto the stain.

The second method is to add some salt to a lemon peel and use it as a scrubbing sponge.

The lemons’ citric acid will help dissolve the tea stain while the salt physically addresses the stain. 

What To Avoid When Removing Tea Stains From Stainless Steel?

While you may want to try bleach or chlorine to address the tea stain as it is a strong stain remover, it can cause irreparable damage to your stainless steel.

You will also want to avoid using any cleaning solution with ammonia as it will also have similar effects on the stainless steel.

Any harsh abrasives, such as steel wool or scouring powders, are not a good idea.

These abrasives will create scratches on the stainless steel.

Any abrasive you use should be gentle not to scratch the stainless steel. 

Are Tea Stains On Stainless Steel Permanent? 

These tea stains can be unsightly but are not permanent.

They can be super annoying and stubborn to remove.

The biggest issue is that the stains are old and layered. The stains will accumulate as you keep using a tea-stained stainless steel container.

Therefore, it’s essential to use the steps above to remove the stains as soon as you notice them.